Causes and treatments for thinning hair

As people get older, their hair may start to lose volume and thickness. In some cases, thinning hair is linked with diet, nutrient deficiencies, or hereditary hair loss.

Posted September 9,2019 in Other.

Atif Ayyaz
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As people get older, their hair may start to lose volume and thickness. In some cases, thinning hair is linked with diet, nutrient deficiencies, or hereditary hair loss.

In most cases, thinning hair is not linked with overall health concerns. However, it can affect people'smental healthand self-esteem.

People can try several treatments and home remedies to boost hair health, thickness, and strength.

In this article, we look at the causes of thinning hair, as well as some of the treatments and home remedies available.


Thinning hair
As people get older, experiencing some degree of hair loss is normal.

Some degree ofhair lossis normal. As people get older, their hair may naturally start to lose volume and strength.

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) point out that people lose50100 hairs each day. New hair then regrows from the same hair follicles.

Over time, however, some follicles stop producing hair, and hair shafts become finer. The hair also starts to lose its color.

If a person notices significant hair thinning or the development of bald patches, they may be experiencing hair loss.According to the ADD, people can stop or treat most causes of hair loss.

The following sections look at possible causes of thinning hair.

Male or female pattern hair loss

Male pattern baldnessandfemale pattern baldnessare together called androgenetic alopecia. Genes and hormones cause androgenetic alopecia.

Androgenetic alopecia is a frequent cause of hair loss. It affects an estimated50 million men and 30 million women in the United States.

According to theGenetics Home Reference, the likelihood of experiencing androgenetic alopecia increases with age. Although it can affect teenagers, over half of males aged 50 and older have some degree of hair loss. It is most likely to affect females followingmenopause.

Often, people who have androgenetic alopecia have family members with the same condition.

In males, hair thinning tends to occur from the hairline to the back of the head. In females, it tends to affect the crown of the head.

Alopecia areata

Alopecia areatais a condition that causes hair loss in round patches on the scalp. It can also affect the eyebrows, beard, and other areas where hair is present.

People in the U.S. have a2.1% chanceof developing alopecia areata in their lifetime. It often occurs during childhood. Genes and environmental factors are the main causes.

In alopecia areata, the hair follicles are still alive, and the hair can regrow. Doctors may treat alopecia areata with an injection into the scalp every46 weeksfor up to 6 months.


The body needs nutrients in order to create new hair strands and maintain healthy hair follicles.

Protein is an essential component of hair. Micronutrients, which includevitaminsand minerals, play a key role in the hair follicle growth cycle.

Malnutritionand vitamin deficiencies can cause hair loss. Eating a healthful, varied diet can help promote the continued growth of strong, healthy hair.

Eating a nutritious diet can also prevent the following signs of damaged hair:

  • brittle hair shafts
  • a dull appearance
  • dryness
  • dandruff

Vitamin D deficiency

Vitamin Dstimulates the hair follicles, resulting in hair growth. When a person does not get enough vitamin D, they may experience hair loss, alongside other symptoms.

Some researchhas linkedvitamin D deficiencies with alopecia areata.


After a long period of significantstress, people may notice that their hair feels thinner than usual. This is called telogen effluvium.

When stress causes thinning hair, people usually notice their hair returning to its normal volume once the stressful situation begins to pass.

Healthcare professionals can help people manage significant times of stress. Talking and behavioral therapies can help. People can also trynatural remedies for dealing with stress and anxiety.


People may notice hair loss during or after pregnancy. Typically, the hair grows back without any treatment.


People can try taking prescription medication to treat thinning hair.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) haveofficially approved two prescription drugs for treating androgenetic alopecia:minoxidiland finasteride.


Minoxidil comes in 2% and 5% treatments. People apply the product directly to the areas of thinning hair.

This is a safe and effective treatment for androgenetic alopecia.

It takes 6-12 monthsfor hair growth to improve. However, people takingminoxidilwill have to keep taking it permanently, or hair loss will reoccur.


Finasteride (Propecia) is an oral medication. People experiencing hair loss take 1 milligram daily. This is a prescription drug for men who have already triedminoxidilwithout success.

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Home remedies

eating eggs may help thinning hair
Eating eggs may boost hair growth.

People can also try a range of home remedies to improve hair growth.

However, not all home remedies have scientific backing. For this reason, people should speak with a doctor before trying any new home remedy for hair loss.

Studies into natural treatments are numerous and show promise. However, herbal remedies do not currently have FDA approval, and more research is needed to confirm their benefits.

The following sections look at home remedies that people can try to treat thinning hair.

Eat hair-healthy foods

Diet plays an important role in the strength and health of a person's hair. Proteins, fats, and certain vitamins and minerals are especially important for hair health.

People may notice improvements in hair growth when they increase the amount of certain foods in their diet.

Foods that may boost hair growthinclude:

  • Eggs:These contain protein, which is essential for hair growth. They also containbiotin, a B vitamin that may boost hair growth, though research results are mixed.
  • Brazil nuts:These are a source ofselenium, a mineral that may improve hair health.
  • Fatty fish:This is a good source ofomega-3, which may also improve hair growth.
  • Walnuts:These also contain omega-3.

Get more vitamin D

Vitamin D deficiencies can contribute to hair loss. Addressing this deficiency could improve thinning hair.

People get most of their vitamin D from exposure to sunlight and their diet. Foods high in vitamin D include:

  • fatty fish
  • beef liver
  • cheese
  • egg yolks
  • mushrooms
  • fortified foods, such as milks, cereals, and juices

Try essential oils

Some people use essential oils to boost hair growth. There has been little research into how effective these oils can be, but they are unlikely to be harmful.

When using essential oils, people should always dilute them in a carrier oil such ascoconut oilor jojoba oil to avoid irritation.Learn more about carrier oils here.

Aromatherapy practitioners may use the following oils to boost hair growth:

Rosemary oil

Some animal studies have suggested that rosemary oil may increase blood flow and could therefore improve scalp health. A healthy scalp is important for healthy hair growth.

One2015 trialcompared rosemary oil with minoxidil 2%. After 6 months, the participants applying rosemary oil and those applying topicalminoxidilboth experienced significant hair growth.

Peppermint oil

Also capable of stimulating blood circulation, peppermint oil has shown promise as a treatment for thinning hair.

In a2014 animal study, scientists found that compared with treatments using salt water, jojoba oil, and minoxidil 3%, those using peppermint oil led to the most hair growth over 4 weeks.

They measured hair growth by assessing using hair thickness, follicle number, and follicle depth.

Other oils

Some people also use thefollowing oilsfor hair growth:

  • cedarwood
  • lavender oil
  • tulsi oil
  • thyme oil
  • Scalp massage

Massaging the scalp may help promote blood flow. This, in turn, may encourage hair to grow. Performing a gentle scalp massage using essential oils could provide extra benefits.

Other natural remedies

According to a2019 review of alternative treatments for alopecia, the following remedies could also help with hair growth:

  • capsaicin, a compound present in red chili peppers
  • ginseng, an herb with traditional use as a hair loss remedy
  • garlic gel, due to its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties
  • onionjuice, which may stimulate hair follicles
  • procyanidin, a class of flavonoidantioxidantspresent in apples,cinnamon, and grapes
  • caffeine, which may promote cell proliferation and hair growth

The study authors also suggest trying the following alternative medicine practices, as they may help reduce stress and anxiety:

  • acupuncture
  • hypnotherapy
  • psychotherapy
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